HL Deb 18 June 1947 vol 148 cc954-6

2.43 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question that stands in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether their attention has been called to the obstacles still put in the path of persons proceding on their lawful occasions, by the barriers across disused aerodromes and by civilians demanding passes, etc.; and to ask whether the time has not come when these warlike hindrances can be swept away.]


My Lords, His Majesty's Government are always prepared to consider any case where the public's freedom of movement across aerodromes no longer needed for flying appears to be unreasonably restricted: access has already been restored in a large number of cases. Many such aerodromes, however, are still in use; aerodrome buildings are being used for storage, and aerodrome land has been put at the disposal of agricultural executive committees for farming purposes. Unauthorized access must, therefore, be prevented. Rights of way are restricted as little as possible, but where restriction is necessary permission to cross an aerodrome can usually be given to members of the public whose business takes them there.


I thank the noble Lord for his reply, which will give modified satisfaction in the Nottinghamshire villages of Kneesall, Ossington, Laxton, Norwell Woodhouse, Carlton-on-Trent, and Caunton. I think I ought to explain how this matter has arisen. The need of the Ossington aerodrome was clearly understood during the war, and no protests were made in regard to it, in spite of the noise and the obstruction caused thereby—


Might I remind the noble Lord that on starred questions a statement should not be made?


If I am not allowed to state how the matter stands, I should like to ask the noble Lord whether he is aware of the reasons for the trouble at this particular aerodrome. I should like to ask him whether he is aware that no aeroplane has been seen there for two years; that the farming community are beginning to ask why their communications should not be restored; and that unlucky agricultural labourers are beginning to ask why they should be expected to make a detour of several miles in getting from their homes to their work. Further, I would ask whether the noble Lord is aware that at least three different Departments of the Government have concentrated on this unfortunate airfield. The Air Ministry, the Ministry of Works, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ordnance Department are all competing for sites there. Is he aware that as soon as one Department opens it another Department closes it, and thereby tantalises the villagers? Is he aware that this is done—


My Lords, I desire to ask whether it is really in order for a noble Lord to make a speech in reference to a starred question. If that practice is once introduced the whole virtue of starred questions will be at an end.


Is it not in order for any of your Lordships to ask questions, and to continue to ask them for as long as he wishes?


I must apologize to your Lordships for having to speak in this curious manner and keep on asking the noble Lord questions. But I have nearly come to the end, and I just want to ask him whether he is aware that the statement that pilfering goes on from the hangars on this aerodrome is rather wild, in consideration of the fact that the hangars are some distance from the public road.



I thank your Lordships very much for having tolerated me for so long.


I think the Government Department is aware of the considerations which have been referred to by the noble Lord, and I think also that they are dealt with in the reply which I gave to his original question.